Why we do it
The SCF is at the forefront of mobilizing partnerships that identify, invest in, and scale solutions for more sustainable land use in Brazil and beyond. Together, these solutions make up a landscape strategy that places producers and local communities at the heart of decision-making about their futures and about how land should be managed, farmed, and conserved, for the benefit of those who live on the land.
As new legislation in consumer countries establishes parameters for commodity imports and their links to deforestation, and as investments in sustainable land use grow, traders are in a unique position to link direct resources from all actors involved in the supply chain who are engaged in the Cerrado. SCF members will work collaboratively with them to strengthen landscape-level solutions that address the drivers of deforestation, provide incentives for restoration, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Where we are
Farmer First Clusters Initiative
We have developed the Farmer First Clusters (FFC) initiative landscape strategy, which sets out an approach to transform commodity-producing landscapes in our 61 Cerrado focus municipalities into deforestation-free sourcing areas. In the first phase of its implementation, the FFC will focus on 8 strategically selected municipalities.
The FFC name encapsulates our approach to landscape transformation, placing farmers and local communities at the center of defining and owning solutions to address deforestation. We have built the approach on the foundational belief that as technologies and policies shift, system transformation ultimately relies on local farmer perceptions and capacities to adopt changes to production practices. Therefore, producers and local governance structures co-develop all solutions and implement them voluntarily. The SCF Farmer Engagement Committee meets fortnightly to ensure that the FFC approach is attractive and well-suited to the challenges farmers face in our priority municipalities.
Watch the video below to see the challenges farmers face that the FFC aims to address.
The FFC strategy aims to transform the Cerrado landscape through the establishment of local governance structures and the ownership of a range of solutions tailored to the needs of a given landscape, through a “clustered” approach.
With the launch of the FFC, we have taken a key step in driving the transformation of deforestation-risky commodity-producing landscapes by approaching soy producers with a set of direct and indirect voluntary financial incentives that will back a finance model aimed at addressing soy-driven deforestation in the Brazilian Cerrado. To get started, we have identified 8 of our 61 focus municipalities to participate in the kick-off phase.
The following budget breakdown per FFC solution area reflects contributions from only the 6 SCF members and will be applied through the first three years of FFC implementation.
The FFC Theory of Change:
By demonstrating that strategic investments in clusters of solutions can lead to more sustainable land-use practices, we will pave the way for future funding at scale from off-take carbon development projects, leading to deforestation-free sourcing jurisdictions.
The FFC strategy distinguishes itself from other landscape interventions by placing farmers at the center of defining and owning solutions to address deforestation; it is not a one-size-fits-all model and therefore overcomes some of the shortcomings of previous sectoral approaches that also aimed to preserve the Cerrado through landscape approaches.
The FFC landscape intervention strategy follows the implementation model on the left.
The six FFC landscape interventions
As each landscape and community has its own challenges and capabilities, the FFC strategy relies on a bundle of solutions clustered in accordance with the demands of the soy farmers present in the focus municipalities, aiming to advance deforestation-free solutions while delivering farmer interests. The six key solutions with its value proposition, advantages and complementarities are:
- Compensation for surplus legal reserve;
- Technical assistance provided to farmers to increase sustainable production, improve yields and ensure Forest Code compliance;
- Integrated farming of livestock, crops and forests;
- Incentives to producers to prioritize soy production expansion over existing degraded pastureland;
- Native vegetation restoration;
- Access to green finance or favorable finance in exchange for zero-deforestation commitments.
For further descriptions of the six intervention strategies, refer to the Methodologies and References section of this report.
FFC farmer eligibility criteria and selection process
The FFC is committed to landscape-level prevention of deforestation with a long-term view. For this reason, the eligibility criteria takes an inclusive approach, aiming to make incentives available to as many interested farmers as possible, rather than focusing on past land-use performance. With this approach, the cut-off deforestation date for eligibility is the moment that the farmer acknowledges the FFC program.
The FFC’s inclusive approach promotes program expansion, leading to scaling across additional municipalities and landscapes.
We will manage the selection of participant producers according to the Farm Selection Criteria, which outlines general and solution-specific requirements for producers to participate in the FFC.
For further details on the selection process for farm participation, refer to the Methodology and References section in this report.
Producers who choose to participate in the Farmer First Clusters make a commitment in their contract not to deforest land. The duration of their commitment varies based on the types of support received, in line with the DCF commitment per solution, outlined below.
We developed a monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure that FFC solutions support landscape transitions to achieve the shared priorities. It assesses the outcomes of solution implementation in each landscape based on metrics designed to track progress on three distinct topic areas: conservation and restoration, farmers and communities, and partnerships. Because not all solutions are implemented in each FFC landscape, each landscape is only evaluated based on the indicators relevant to the solutions applied.
The framework will evaluate outcomes and opportunities for continuous improvement in the implementation of the FFC.
The framework will continue to evolve with a set of core metrics.
Getting Started: The FFC kick-off phase
We have identified 8 of our 61 focus municipalities to participate in the kick-off phase of implementation.